• Thieves cash in on high prices
• Free trackers and immobilisers
• Police issue advice to farmers
A sharp rise in quad bike thefts is piling the pressure on sheep farmers at the busiest time of year.
An ongoing increase in thefts of the all-terrain vehicles has prompted warnings to ramp up tarm security. It follows a 26% annual increase in the cost of quadbike thefts last year, bringing the total value to £2.8m in 2022.
Thieves are targeting sheep farms where quads are a vital tool – especially for lone workers, said rural insurer NFU Mutual. It is advising farmers to take extra security measures to avoid becoming victims.
NFU Mutual machinery expert Bob Henderson said: “A shortage of new machines has driven the price of second-hand quads higher and this has led to a feeding-frenzy from criminal gangs who steal the vehicles to sell on in the UK and across the globe.
Mr Henderson added: “The supply chain problems which are driving up prices are also making it difficult for farmers to source replacement machines when their quads are stolen.”
To help protect farmers, NFU Mutual is working with quad manufacturers to provide customers with free tracking and immobilisation equipment on vehicles bought to replace stolen quads and ATVs, following a paid claim.
Mr Henderson added: “Today’s criminals will spend time watching farms to see where quads are kept and then come back with tools to break in and steal them.
“To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of quad theft it’s vital to always remove keys when not on the machine and always secure your quad when it’s not in use.
“Thieves often will return to a farm where they have stolen a quad in the hope of stealing its replacement. To beat repeat thefts, we’re working with manufacturers to provide our customers who have had a quad stolen with free tracking devices and immobilisers.”
Detective Constable Chris Piggott, of the National Rural Crime Unit, said: “Tracking, immobilisation and security marking are
the most effective measures against quad theft as they deter thieves and make it easier
for police to catch the gangs behind these crimes.
“To avoid buying a stolen piece of kit and fuelling the criminal trade, we’re urging farmers to obtain serial numbers for the quad and check these with companies such as HPI who can fully provenance them.
Farmers buying a used quadbike should speak to their local dealership to see if they have any records of the bike – or ask for copies of original invoices from the seller, suggested Mr Piggott.
NFU Mutual has introduced a new discount scheme for members who purchase Scorpion security products. The move is in addition to existing discounts for measures such as CESAR marking, approved trackers, immobilisers and mechanical devices.